Byrd was born October 25, 1888 in Winchester, Virginia. He was a descendant of one of the First Families of Virginia. His ancestors include planter John Rolfe and his wife Pocahontas, William Byrd II of Westover Plantation, who established Richmond, and Robert "King" Carter, a colonial governor.

He was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics.

Richard E. Byrd's Family Tree